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MLB Power Rankings: Giants fall after sweep to Dodgers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
For all the concerns before the 60-game season kicked off last year, MLB didn't end up with any weird small-sample-size division winners. They all were teams expected to be good, and as the 2021 season approaches the 60-game mark, something similar is happening.
In the AL, the Tampa Bay Rays have won 11 in a row and the New York Yankees have taken six straight, and if the playoffs started today, those two would be joined by the Chicago White Sox, A's and Boston Red Sox. In the NL, the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres each are 9-1 in their last 10, and they would lead a playoff field that would also include the New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals and Giants.
The Giants are the surprise of the group, but overall it's a playoff field that you could have predicted two months ago. The best teams are starting to rise to the top as we take our biweekly look at all 30:
30. Twins (18-29): They would be down near the very bottom on performance alone, but for this week's edition of the Power Rankings, they're serving a suspension from the top 29 because of the way they handled YerminGate. Tony La Russa got all the attention, but Minnesota's Tyler Duffey throwing at Yermin Mercedes was gutless.
29. Orioles (17-30): Trey Mancini's story doesn't get talked about enough. He missed last season as he fought colon cancer, but he has returned to hit 10 homers and drive in 41 runs in his first 47 games.
28. Pirates (18-28): It'll probably cost way too much, but it would be hilarious -- and helpful -- if the Giants went out and got righty closer Richard Rodriguez, who uses his fastball 91 percent of the time, to pair with Jake McGee (88 percent).
27. Diamondbacks (18-30): They were kinda, sorta hanging around in the NL West and threatening to at least be a nuisance for the Big Three, but then they lost eight in a row. They'll throw righties Corbin Martin and Merrill Kelly at the Giants this week.
26. Tigers (18-29): Miguel Cabrera has a .600 OPS, but has mostly stayed in the lineup, helping his push for milestones. He's 10 hits from 3,000 and nine homers from 500.
25. Rockies (19-29): The Giants are 6-3 against them, but maybe that won't be enough. The Rockies have lost five of six against the Padres and six of seven to the Dodgers.
24. Angels (20-27): The Mike Trout injury is a bummer for a lot of reasons, including the fact that he'll miss what would have been a rare trip to Oracle Park. The Giants host the Angels next Monday and Tuesday.
23. Mariners (22-26): Jarred Kelenic is a good reminder for Giants fans that you have to be patient with top prospects. He was the No. 4 prospect in the minors entering the season but has just six hits through his first 41 big league at-bats.
22. Reds (20-25): With the stuff he has, it makes zero sense that Luis Castillo leads the majors in hits allowed, earned runs allowed and losses. If only the Giants' pitching coaches could get their hands on another former Reds starter ...
21. Rangers (22-27): The Power Rankings Committee (of one) had no idea Ian Kennedy ended up here. The 36-year-old has a 1.86 ERA in 19 relief appearances.
20. Royals (22-23): A return to Kansas City hasn't helped Wade Davis, who has allowed 12 earned in 14 1/3 innings. He gave up just 16 earned runs in 2014 and 2015 combined!
19. Nationals (20-23): Max Scherzer, a free agent at the end of the season, might swing a division race at the trade deadline. He remains absolutely dominant, with a 2.24 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 56 1/3 innings.
18. Phillies (23-25): You can't blame the Giants for parting ways with Sam Coonrod, but man could they use someone like him in their bullpen right now. The hard-throwing righty has a 1.80 ERA with 23 strikeouts to two walks in 20 innings.
17. Marlins (23-24): Trevor Rogers is hanging with the better-known names in the National League. He's third in the league in ERA (1.75), just ahead of Yu Darvish and Trevor Bauer.
16. Mets (21-20): They have seemingly an entire roster on the Injured List, but there is some good news. Noah Syndergaard is nearly all the way back from Tommy John surgery and should be back in the big leagues in mid-June.
15. Brewers (24-23): Nobody is going to want to see this pitching staff if Milwaukee can sneak into the postseason. They're 7-1 so far against the Dodgers and Padres and have allowed six runs in their four wins over San Diego.
14. Braves (23-24): You'll notice a theme in the middle here. The entire NL East is separated by two games and none of the teams look truly awful or all that good. The Mets should win the division if they get healthy, but the Braves take the top spot here for now after a solid stretch led by MVP candidate Ronald Acuña Jr. (1.001 OPS, 15 homers).
13. Indians (24-20): Eddie Rosario was a popular name on Giants Twitter after he got let go by the Twins, but it seems the actual Giants were smart not to bring him in. The veteran outfielder has a .588 OPS through 43 games with just three homers.
12. Blue Jays (23-23): They've been hanging near the top of the tough AL East all season -- and even briefly sat in first -- but the last week hasn't been kind. They lost two of three to the Red Sox, got swept in a four-game series by the Rays, and now visit the Yankees.
11. Cardinals (26-21): San Francisco isn't the only place where they're turning back the clock. Adam Wainwright, who turns 40 in August, has a 3.95 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in nine starts.
10. Cubs (24-22): Giants GM Scott Harris and his old boss, Jed Hoyer, find themselves in a similar position. Both have a ton to potentially sell at the trade deadline, but at the moment the Cubs are 3 1/2 behind the Giants in the wild card race after taking two of three from the Central-leading Cards.
9. Astros (26-21): They're one of the more balanced teams in the Majors, ranking second in OPS, ninth in ERA and fourth in Outs Above Average.
8. A's (28-21): With Matt Olson (12 homers), Ramon Laureano (11) and Mark Canha (10), they're one of just two teams in the American League with three players in double digits. The other one is Boston.
7. Giants (28-19): They were reminded of a harsh lesson over the weekend. For all they've done right -- and even after the ugly sweep they're still third in the NL in run differential -- they play in a division with two superpowers who are going to be really, really hard to beat over 162.
6. Red Sox (29-19): The heart of their lineup absolutely mashes, but they'll need more pitching to contend with the Yankees and Rays down the stretch. They should get longtime ace Chris Sale back from Tommy John in the second half.
5. White Sox (27-19): The coolest story Tuesday will take place in their game against the Cardinals, but it won't be Tony La Russa facing his old team. High school teammates Jack Flaherty and Lucas Giolito will square off, with their Harvard-Westlake pitching coach -- former Giants coach Ethan Katz -- in the ballpark as Giolito's pitching coach for the White Sox.
4. Yankees (28-19): We've reached the part of the Power Rankings where all the preseason favorites start to remind us why they were thought of that way. The Yankees have had a rollercoaster season, but they just swept the White Sox, a potential opponent in the ALCS.
3. Rays (30-19): It's a miracle they don't lose their president, GM and others to a big market every other offseason, because whatever they're doing there every year is remarkable. They've run off 11 wins in a row.
2. Dodgers (29-18): There was like a 48-hour stretch there when the baseball world started asking what's wrong with the Dodgers -- and they responded by winning 11 of 12. It's hard to keep your focus for 162 after a title, but in a big series at Oracle Park, they wiped the floor with the Giants. The scary part? They did it without Cody Bellinger and Corey Seager.
1. Padres (30-18): They went 7-1 while Fernando Tatis Jr. was on the COVID-19 IL, and he has been an absolute terror since returning. In five games, he has 12 hits and four homers.